Suffern monastery priest sexually assaulted at least two congregants: Cops

The Journal News

February 21, 2020

A priest in the Tagaste Monastery and Sacred Heart Church in Suffern sexually assaulted and raped multiple women, Suffern police said.

A woman congregant told a priest in the monastery that she was sexually assaulted by 51-year-old Fidel Hernandez in 2018, according to police.

The clergy member contacted the Archdiocese, which contacted the Rockland District Attorney’s Office.

During the course of a joint investigation by the Suffern police and DA’s office, a second victim came forward, saying she was sexually assaulted by Hernandez too.

Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn said, at this time, they don’t know of any other victims, but if there are, he urges them to come forward.

“This is an ongoing investigation and we ask that anyone that feels they were a victim or knows of a potential victim to come forward and contact either the Suffern Police Department or the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office,” Suffern police said in a statement.

The announcment of Hernandez’s arrest was made at last weekend’s masses, Osborn said.
Hernandez was arraigned today in Suffern village court on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching and released on $50,000 bail pending a future court date.

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